The Union Grove High School boys basketball team opened its season with a thriller Tuesday.
The Broncos overcame a long-range shooting exhibition by New Berlin Eisenhower and junior guard Jackson Barber scored seven of his 12 points in overtime to help Union Grove beat the Lions 85-83.
The Broncos led 33-24 at halftime and were still ahead late in regulation. With Union Grove ahead 71-68 in the final seconds, Eisenhower’s Daniel Woo hit a contested 3-point basket from the top of the key to tie the game at 71-71 and send it to overtime.
“We had a defender in front of him, but it was nothing but net,” Broncos coach Dave Pettit said.
The Lions scored first in overtime, then the teams stayed close until Barber, a junior point guard, made a key layup that gave Union Grove the lead. The Lions didn’t score on their subsequent possession and senior forward Tyson Skalecki had a basket for the Broncos.
With Union Grove ahead 83-81, Skalecki rebounded a 3-point miss by Eisenhower, was fouled and made 1 of 2 free throws. A Lions layup made it 84-83, then Barber was fouled and made 1 of 2 free throws with 3.8 seconds left in overtime.
Eisenhower put up a wild shot at the end that was off the mark as Union Grove escaped with the victory. The Broncos went 6 of 10 from the line in overtime.
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The Lions finished with 15 3-pointers in the game, opening the second half with 3s on their first five possessions that tightened up the game, Pettit said.
“That was tough to swallow,” Pettit said. “But we weathered the storm OK. The kids played with so much effort. We pulled away a couple times and had some self-induced errors.”
Skalecki led the Broncos with a game-high 26 points and he also grabbed 12 rebounds. Junior forward Owen Nowak had 15 points and a team-high 13 rebounds — Union Grove outrebounded Eisenhower 61-32 — and Barber and junior forward Zac Montgomery had 12 points each.
Union Grove had a big advantage at the free-throw line, going 20 of 34 compared to 8 of 13 for the Lions. It was the second time in the last 10 years Union Grove has opened its season with an overtime win. The Broncos beat Waukesha South 81-78 on Nov. 15, 2012.
Corey Ryan led Eisenhower with 20 points, including six 3-pointers. Woo had 17 and Alex Schmidt (four 3s) had 14).
RACINE LUTHERAN 74, HERITAGE CHRISTIAN 71: The Justin Hullum era for the Crusaders began on a strong note as Julian Ramsey scored 15 of his game-high 23 points in the second half for a Lutheran victory at Milwaukee.
Lutheran trailed 34-30 at halftime, then Ramsey, a senior guard, came to life. He had a pair of 3-point baskets and went 7 of 8 from the free-throw line in the second half to help the Crusaders outscore the Patriots 44-37 in the second half. He finished with three 3s.
Fellow senior Gavin Zawicki had 10 of his 15 points in the second half and junior Eric Ibarra had eight of his 15 in the final 18 minutes. Eric Rossa, with 11 points, gave Lutheran four players in double figures.
Hullum replaced retired legend Jeff Christensen as Lutheran’s coach this season.
Alex Trotter led Heritage Christian (0-1) with 19 points and Jaylen Johnson added 15.
OAK CREEK 73, WATERFORD 50: The Wolverines began their season on a down note, trailing 43-24 at halftime on the way to a nonconference loss at Oak Creek.
Except for sophomore guard Brogan Finnegan, Waterford struggled to score in the first half. Finnegan had half of his team’s points in the first half. He finished with a team-high 15 points.
Liam Cockrell added nine points and Adam Chart had eight for the Wolverines, who went 15 of 18 from the free-throw line; Finnegan went 5 for 5.
Cordelli Carson scored 18 points in the first half for the Knights (1-0) and finished with 26 points. Danny McNeive added 11 (nine in the first half).